AN ALCOHOLIC may have frozen to death in Moredon as temperatures dropped below zero, an inquest heard.

The 56-year-old's half dressed and frozen body was discovered slumped in the grounds of sheltered housing block Park Farm on The Street on Monday, February 26.

Bruising to Paul’s ribs and head led police to fear he may have been assaulted. The area was sealed off for two days by forensics investigators. A Home Office pathologist was commissioned to conduct the post-mortem and further toxicology tests were ordered.

However, at an inquest into Paul’s death this week, investigating officer Det Sgt Scott Anger said he was satisfied there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the former BT engineer’s death.

Giving a narrative conclusion, David Ridley, senior coroner, said the exact circumstances leading to Paul's death may never be known: “Paul had a long battle with alcohol and the cause of his death more likely than not was a sudden unexpected death in a chronic alcoholic with minor injuries (more likely than not attributable to a fall or collapse).

“The temperature that night dropped to minus four degrees Celsius and therefore it is more likely than not that hypothermia was also a factor in Paul’s death. There is no evidence to support foul play or third-party involvement.”

CCTV showed Paul leaving his rented bungalow at 11.49pm the night before his death.

Det Sgt Anger told the inquest: “The purpose and the reason for leaving his address at that time of night remains unknown.”

The Boundary House pub at the top of the road and other nearby shops were shut. Paul was wearing a fleece top, shirt and tracksuit bottoms, clothes the CID detective said were inappropriate.

When he was found by cyclist Martin Mansfield at 7.30am on Monday morning, Paul was partially undressed. His trousers had been pulled down to his knees and his shirt pulled up to his chest. Coroner David Ridley said it was not uncommon for people suffering from hypothermia to think their bodies were hot.

Paramedics performed CPR and took Paul to Great Western Hospital. However, it is believed he was dead before the emergency services arrived.

Paul was described as a reclusive man, who had battled alcoholism since his teens. When he died, there was no alcohol in his system and it was believed he could have been suffering from hallucinations linked to alcohol withdrawal.

A day before he died, friend Catrina Saunders had seen a sober Paul collapsed behind his locked front door, complaining of having been robbed.

His brothers, John and Roy, and wife Pauline described him as a charitable man who gave to the RNIB and Dog’s Trust, despite living on a modest pension.

Pauline Wilding, from whom Paul had separated, said: “He was a generous individual and would always like to do good.”